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Thread: 75 days after moving RTI, PMC is still compiling data on conservancy staff deaths

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    75 days after moving RTI, PMC is still compiling data on conservancy staff deaths


    75 days after moving RTI, PMC is still compiling data on conservancy staff deaths

    Pune, December 31 It has been 75 days since some basic data about its conservancy staff has been sought from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) under the Right to Information Act (RTI) Act. The PMC has not only expressed its inability to furnish the details but has informally asked for Rs 30,000 as charges as it needed to sift information from 15,000 pages. When confronted with alarming figures pertaining to deaths of 227 conservancy staff in 30 months as revealed by The Indian Express in October, the PMC had gone into a denial mode.

    The civic administration had claimed at the time that 159 class IV employees had died in 24 months and of this only 108 were conservancy staff.

    On October 17, The Indian Express filed an RTI application seeking information related to conservancy staff in PMC and the number and cause of deaths in specific years so as to put an end to this debate. As per the RTI Act, the PMC had to furnish the information within 30 days of filing of application.

    However, a good two-and-a-half months have passed since then but the PMC has failed to furnish the information sought under RTI. It is not as if the information sought required much compiling and data sifting.

    On November 15, just before the deadline to furnish the information, the PMC Public Information Officer (PIO), wrote to Express stating the civic administration would give its reply in the next few days.

    “The information is very vast and related to various department of the PMC. The compilation of data is going on and we will furnish it soon,” PIO Sanjay More said.

    Some six weeks have passed since then but the civic administration seems to be still compiling the requisite information.

    Meanwhile, some PMC officers orally communicated that the sought information was available in 15,000 pages and the applicant has to pay Rs 30,000, at the rate of Rs two per copy as per the RTI rule, to collect the information. However, they refused to give in writing that the RTI applicant needed to pay Rs 30,000 to be provided some basic information.

    Even as this drama unfolded in the civic corridors, the PMC also announced a slew of measures to improve the life of its staff engaged in cleaning the city.

    75 days after moving RTI, PMC is still compiling data on conservancy staff deaths



  2. #2
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    Re: 75 days after moving RTI, PMC is still compiling data on conservancy staff deaths


    As reported by Ajay Khape in expressindia.com on 13 April 2008:
    PMC admits 225 conservancy staff died in 24 months - ExpressIndia.Com

    PMC admits 225 conservancy staff died in 24 months

    Pune, April 12 Its official now. By its own admission, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has said that 225 of its conservancy staff died in the 24-month period ending September 2007.

    The Indian Express, in the first part of a series of articles on the alarming mortality rate of the PMC conservancy staff, had said that 227 of PMCs conservancy staff had died prematurely in the preceding 30 months.

    In response to the Express article on October 12, 2007 titled In just over two years, 227 Pune civic staff died cleaning the citys filth, the PMC had clarified at that time that the actual number of conservancy staff that had died during a 24-month period ending September 2007 was only 108.

    Now, in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query, the PMC health department has admitted that 44 employees had died from October 2005 to March 2006, 144 from April 2006 to March 2007 and 37 from April 2007 to September 2007.

    The PMC needs to further enhance the number of measures for the conservancy staff to improve their working condition as they face occupational hazard, said activist Vihar Durve, who was furnished the details on deaths of conservancy staff of PMC under RTI Act.

    Union ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment had rushed to the city its joint secretary Dr Arbind Prasad who was critical on the working conditions of the conservancy staff of PMC.

    At that time, the PMC had announced an increase in the financial assistance to the kin of deceased conservancy staff - from Rs 30,000 to Rs 1 lakh. The state government had also announced free housing to the conservancy staff of all its municipal corporations.

    Durve had sought information on the conservancy staff of PMC involved in sweeping streets, cleaning of open drains, sewerage lines, manholes, storm water drains, engaged in dumping sites, motor loading and unloading of garbage dumping sites, handling of medical waste and working in mortuaries.

    The PMC has, over the past six months, initiated many measures to improve the working conditions of the high-risk employees by providing protective gears and other facilities.

    It has also introduced mechanised cleaning by way of two sweeping machines to clean up the streets and is all set to hire machine to clean up the citys manholes.

    The last medical check up of the Class III and Class IV was conducted in 2005 and 250 employees were given medical advice and 30 were admitted in hospital for medical treatment, it said. The PMC has decided to maintain health cards of the employees while making medical check-up compulsory every year. It has decided to make the use of safety gear compulsory for its employees.

    Municipal Commissioner Praveensinh Pardeshi had constituted a committee to study and recommend improvements for the working conditions of the conservancy staff. The committee, in its findings, pointed out lack of drinking water facility, first aid kits, insufficient toilets at the working site along with the delay in supply of soaps to the conservancy staff.
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    Re: 75 days after moving RTI, PMC is still compiling data on conservancy staff deaths


    As reported by TNN on timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 19 April 2008:
    In 2 yrs, 108 conservancy staff deaths-Pune-Cities-The Times of India

    In 2 yrs, 108 conservancy staff deaths

    PUNE: A high-level probe into the cause of deaths among conservancy workers of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) between October 2005 and September 2007 has established that many of them have died owing to 'non-occupational hazards', including AIDS, liver cirrhosis, heart attack and blood pressure.

    This has been revealed in a report submitted by an eight-member committee. The probe, ordered by municipal commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi, claims that 108 conservancy employees died between October 2005 and September 2007, and not 225 as claimed by a section of the Press.

    Interestingly, in a recent reply to civic activist Vihar Durve under the Right to Information Act, the PMC had said that the total number of employees who died while in service from October 2005 to October 2007 was 225.

    Speaking to TOI, Suresh Jagtap, deputy commissioner (solid waste management), said, "There is no ambiguity in the RTI reply and our probe report. The number of deaths of conservancy workers is 108. The total number of deaths, including employees from other departments, was 225."

    However, in the same breath, he asserted "For us, every human life is important. We are making every effort to improve the working conditions of the conservancy staff. At the same time, we wish to ensure that our measures to restrict the number of fatalities among the conservancy workers is not misdirected,".



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    Re: 75 days after moving RTI, PMC is still compiling data on conservancy staff deaths



    As reported by Ajay Khape in expressindia.com on 20 April 2008:
    I never asked how many PMC workers died: RTI activist - ExpressIndia.Com
    I never asked how many PMC workers died: RTI activist

    Pune, April 19 Why would the Pune Municipal Corporation give me details of deaths of its entire employees when I never sought any such information?, asks Vihar Shivajirao Durve, who filed an application under RTI on November 12, 2007 seeking information on deaths of conservancy staff of Pune Municipal Corporation from April 1, 2002 onwards. However, PMC provided him with statistics on conservancy employee deaths only for the period October 2005-October 2007.

    The subject matter of my RTI is only about safai karamchari (conservancy staff) of PMC. If the number of employees refers to the PMC conservancy staff, if their answer Not applicable against the question on contract labourers is about conservancy staff and the details of safety gear also pertains to conservancy staff, how can the number of deaths alone be about the entire PMC workforce which is about 18,000, Durve said.

    In a report published by The Times of India today, the PMC claimed that only 108 conservancy staff died in the two-year period starting October 2005 as per the findings of an eight-member committee probe ordered by Municipal Commissioner Praveensinh Pardeshi.

    Quoting Suresh Jagtap, deputy commissioner (solid waste management), the report said: There is no ambiguity in the RTI reply and our probe report. The number of deaths of conservancy workers is 108. The total number of deaths including employees from other departments was 225.

    When contacted, Jagtap admitted on Saturday that all the questions asked in the RTI application were specifically related to conservancy staff only, so the reply to these question too were only related to conservancy staff.

    The information asked in the RTI is only about the conservancy staff. The RTI is a legal document and we stand by the reply given. There is confusion over the figures (225 and 108 - mentioned as the number of PMC conservancy staff who died during the two-year period). We will look into how different figures have cropped up as both the information have come from different departments, Jagtap said.

    This is not the first time that the PMC has come up with the claim that only 108 conservancy staff died from October 2005 to September 2007 and to that extent this finding by the PMC committee is nothing new. On October 13, 2007, The Indian Express had carried PMCs response to the previous days story: Only 189 employees had died during the last two years from October 2005 to September 2007- and not 227 employees in the last 30 months as reported. Of the 189, one was a Class I employee, two were of Class II, 26 of Class III, and 159 of Class IV. The number of deaths among conservancy staff engaged in garbage and sewage work was only 108.

    Charging the PMC with willfully misleading the public, Durve said, I am the RTI applicant and in none of the answers provided till date, including the hearing on March 7, 2008 at the office of the civic bodys appellate authority, did the PMC say that the number of deaths does not pertain to its conservancy staff.

    Excerpts from Nov 12, 2007 application and PMCs reply on Dec 11, 2007
    Particulars of information required - Subject matter of Information:

    Safai Karmachari i.e. PMC employees or contract labour, engaged in sweeping of streets, cleaning of open drains, sewerage lines and manholes, storm water drains, operations at garbage dumping sites, motor loading and unloading of garbage, handling of hospital waste and working in mortuaries in PMC - safety gears, medical facilities, operational manuals and staff quarters and death in service.

    * Total number of employees, year-wise?
    Reply: Information annexure attached along with (detailed table showed it had above 7,000 on its rolls in most months).

    * Total number of contract labour?
    Reply: Not applicable

    * Total number of employees who died while in service?
    Reply: Oct 05 - Mar 06 = 44
    Apr 06 - Mar 07= 144
    Apr 07 -Oct 07 = 37

    * Details of safety gears like hand gloves, masks, caps, safety shoes, uniforms, goggles for eyes, fluorescent, jackets etc, provided by PMC to its employees, if any?
    Reply: Uniforms - 3 in number every 3 years; Raincoat - once in two years; Gumboot - one pair every year; Mask - one every year; Safety goggles - one every year.

    RTI activists speak

    * Vivek Velankar: If the question is about conservancy staff then they cannot escape saying that the answer is about the entire PMC employees. I have experience of getting misleading information from PMC. The municipal commissioner should take action against those doing this.

    * Vijay Kumbhar: Once again, the PMC is trying to confuse the public.This is not the first time that the PMC has given misleading information. They feel they can get away with anything unpunished




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